If you have bought a second-hand car it may be worth checking if you could be one of potentially hundreds of thousands of British motorists who have been mis-sold their car as having “one owner” when it has actually been used as a rental or company car.
This recently discovered mis-selling scandal has brought to light that some car manufacturers and dealers have been selling cars under false pretences by stating that they have only been owned by one person when they have in fact been driven by many individuals. This is an issue as it can mean that the vehicle has sustained more wear and tear that it would have otherwise.
Whats the issue?
Those who have been sold a second-hand car with this information being withheld from them could be eligible for compensation of between 25 and 100% of the price that they paid for the car as this practice may violate Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
It is estimated that 1 million former rental or company cars are sold in the UK each year, which is not a problem if the buyer is told that this is the case and the car has been well looked after and maintained during its time as a fleet vehicle, but this is not always the case.
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Since this mis-selling tactic has been discovered, the Advertising Standards Authority have said that they will warn car manufacturers and dealers that they must be transparent about a car’s history during the sales process as they should not be withholding information which is deemed as being vital for buyers.
They have also published an online advice guide for those who sell ex-fleet vehicles which states that they must tell interested buyers what the car has been used for in the past. This is important as what the car has been used for could influence the individual’s decision to purchase it as they would probably feel differently about a car which had only been driven by one careful owner than they would about one which had been used as a rental or company car.
“Interim measures in place”
Fiat Chrysler were caught out for this by the ASA in October when they advertised two Alfa Romeos online but failed to mention that one has been a company car and one had been used for training purposes. Since then they have stated that they have put interim measures in place to prevent anything like this from happening again.
Mr Damon Parker, the Head of Litigation at law firm Harcus Sinclair has said that around 200 people have reported that a car has been mis-sold using this tactic in the past week, and although they could be entitled to between 25 and 100% of the price they paid for the car it is likely to be at the lower end of this estimation. He also stated that these incidences will be looked at on a case-by-case basis rather than through an industry wide lawsuit.
What can you do?
If you are buying a second-hand car there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you have all of the details you need about it before you commit to making a purchase. For example, always check the log book, use the DVLA’s vehicle information checker, and verify the car’s MOT history so that you are confident that everything is in order before you part with your money.
Should the car that you are looking at have been used as a rental or company car before this doesn’t mean that it should be avoided, in fact they can be a great choice depending on what you are looking for. It is just important that you are aware of how much it may have been used and by how many people just in case this has had a negative impact on the vehicle.
Have you ever had doubts about your cars history? Do you see any issue in not knowing where and how your new car has been used before? Let us know in the comments below.
I would say having bought a cars over the last 10 years that we were told have one previous owner, knowing that the car was a company fleet vehicle, that the only real reason I suspect that they release the vehicle from the fleet is when they know something expensive is about to fail or need replacement.
Also I have seen first hand when interested in a newer used car within the last 6 months that a lot of work is done to improve the appearance of a dented, rusted and generally battered exterior to restore it to a somewhat factory look to mask it’s hideous history. Having refused to buy two different Seat Leon Ecomotive models because there were identical tears in the drivers foot well carpet which looked to be caused by heels, it seems some things are not worth the effort to gloss over even though they admit it is a former rental car.
My current car (former business fleet vehicle apparently) looks like it’s had an issue with the rear offside wheel arch and the car’s handling over the last 5 years has reflected my suspicions that it has been accident damaged and restored prior to being released from the fleet, even though there is a feint line in the paint under the lacquer and a slight dullness to the paint around the line.
Finally when sold as a former fleet vehicle the sales person tries to play down the wear and tear aspect by responding that it will just have been used on the motorway from A to B and B back to A so it’s only really been used on straight roads with little to no town driving.
I would say to anyone considering a former fleet vehicle, stick to the main dealerships but don’t buy their affiliated brand of car so you know they got them either at an auction or they were traded the car for the sale of one of their own. This reduces the chance they would be selling you a demonstration model, that if bought at auction they would be filtering with better criteria for not only making a profit, but not having it return in warranty period, and if part exchanged they are more likely to take it away to auction than to keep it and have to sell at a less than market value price to reflect any problems they found before accepting it in exchange and just want rid of it.
I believe I misguided by the company who I bought my car with as they said it is only one previous owner but I really don’t know what should I do
Please advice .
I use buy fleet and company, has the car sales adver say that it a one owner and been served regularly as you will not go rong the last one I bought I decided to contact the owner by letter giving me information on it history the reply I got was where not imposition to say and would not give me a straight answer so now I go for x mobility cars they have one owners and a good manufacturer service, I have bought a x mobility marvia diesel resentley another tibicult sails man not expected of the diesel scandal sucked in agen
Wasn’t sure it was English at first…
When I bought my car from a BMW main dealer I was told it was a BMW management car and was fully checked and warrantied from BMW.When I got the registration book from DVLA I found out the last owner was a car hire group.After complaining by letter I was fogged of with offers of a free valet and a tank full of fuel, I never took up the offer.
Brought a bmw 20months ago and they told me it’s never been a company car just done motorway miles by previous owner when log book arrived it had 2 owners before me they also said they will deliver the car just weren’t expect them to turn up at 10.45pm then told me they had to get the mot done and before they could deliver it. Next day I was out til late evening come up a country lane needing high beam to see and no high beam checked in the morning there where no bulbs in the high beam so rung dealer up and they said well they were there as it past it’s mot……so I guess they just fall out on there own then but cost me to put some in as dealer not interested once he had sold it to me.
What do you do if you believe that you have one of these cars. I have an Audi A6 and I am convinced that it’s ex hire but the Audi dealership says that I am wrong
Contact your local trading standards office to see if there is any guidance or advice they can give you. Perhaps you could also write to the DVLA and ask who the previous owners were.
For a small fee the dvla will supply all previous owner information, I did it once when trying to track down the service history on a car last year.
It should tell you on your V5 if the previous owner was a rental co. I’ve just noticed on mine it was owned by Europcar.
Quite often though the owner isn’t listed as the hire company but the finance company as the hire companies usually hire the cars rather than buy outright …..
I have a seat leon from that I bought from main dealer and was told it was previously owned by seat UK as a sales managers car
But when I got the log book it was registered to babcock rail
So do I have a case and who do I go to for help on this
Not sure if mine was a fleet car , how do I find out ?
This article is somewhat pointless due to the fact that it only gives us part of the picture and regrettably misses out on the really important but…… i.e what you need to actually do if you are a victim of this “mis-selling scandal”. What’s the point of drawing us in to reading the article if it does nothing to assist us do something about it. I suggest the writer Sasha Davison follow this up with something that is of more practical help in claiming the compensation that she stated people who have been missold are entitled to.
What web site do we go to for info on this .
What about Demonstrators
For crying out loud!! Stop looking for ‘something for nothing’ you compensation-seeking losers! Most people with half a brain in their head will know that a car that has done 15-20k miles in 8-12 months is an ex-company or ex-hire car. One look at the vehicle registration document will tell you exactly who owns the car, and the previous owner, so stop moaning!!
I’m surprised the ambulance-chasing compensation-seeking litigation culture we live in hasn’t found a way of claiming mis-selling for being born in the first place!!!!!!!
Happen to me years ago with a VW dealer. When I cornered them the changed my 2year old car for a low mileage 6 month old on with much better spec. The lesson is never to trust a sales person about anything!
I bought my Renault Laguna estate mk1 car in yr1999 from a dealer and it was only after I finally got it home found out that it was a Avis rental car which I was not told at the time of the deal as they kept this information undercover saying its a one owner.
Had a lot of issues then on including them having to replace engine which was still under manufactures WARRENTY !
I can’t see the problem, an ex rental car or company car has only had one owner so it is as described. I’ve bought nearly new ex-rental cars in the past with around 10K miles on them and they have been excellent cars. Fully maintained and lets face it, when you hire a car, you tend to look after it or you lose your deposit.
The statement is “One owner” doesn’t mention how many drivers
I purchased a Mitsubishi HQ company car thinking it was only driven and allocated to one person but now it was probably used by lots of people. How do you find out and claim compensation
Whenever you buy a used car always inspect the log book before you agree a sale.
An ex-hire car will have had lots of drivers but generally for a short period of time each and the cars are maintained regardless of cost, much like blue light cars, none the less they are worth less than a private car.
If buying from Arnold Clark and the log book says “ACF” it stands for Arnold Clark Finance, don’t be fobbed off by the salesmen telling you stories, these are the Rental cars – the contract hire/lease cars are all sent to auction. The majority of the “Real Sale” feed stock is from the hire fleet, hence why trying to hire a car from AC in January is difficult. On the plus side, if you do have a ACF car and no service history, just pop in and ask the rental desk to print it off for you.
The majority of nearly new cars are ex-rental, short term contract hire/lease and/or Motability. That doesn’t make it daunting, it makes it a buyers market.
Oh, and its about time that salesmen (people) started telling the truth, what can we do to make DFS tell the truth?
To those who have asked why this is relevant I can explain. I used to work for a Peugeot dealer and we used to sell the ex rental cars as ‘demonstrators’. While rental cars were genrally well maintained according to the service schedule they were offen driven hard as the driver had no liability or financial interest in the car and therefore didn’t care about its treatment. Most were bumped at somepoint and had consmetic repair companies fix them to an acceptable standard to keep costs down.
So knowing what I know I can fully understand why someone wouldn’t want to buy an ex-rental or lease vehicle.
If the previous registered keeper is listed as leaseplan uk ltd, would it implicate as miss-old used car. The reason why I think it might be is because as you say you would not know of how much wear and tear the car has gone through. In my case within weeks of buying the car the ecu unit was gone and had to be replaced. So the log book says it has 1 previous registered keeper and that keeper is the leaseplan